Just when you think you're tough enough


John Cheah’s journey from Fat to CrossFit Champion and Coach

(Elite SG Fittest)
(Elite SG Fittest)

John Cheah is a name well-known in the CrossFit world, especially in Singapore and the South East Asian region. However, every athlete has their own struggle to achieving their fitness goals. One would never imagine that John Cheah was once overweight.

In the last two years, the 25 year-old has earned several CrossFit and weightlifting accolades, including second place in the Singapore National Weightlifting Open 2014 and second place in the finals of a functional fitness tournament called Elite last April.

“I read an article in 2012 which said CrossFit was dangerous. That piqued my curiosity”

A CrossFit life

“When I started going to the gym in 2009, I exercised to lose weight and get stronger, but I did not have a good idea of what I was doing. I followed what I thought were the most attractive programmes on the Internet”

Currently, John is actively into CrossFit which is a strength and conditioning programme with varied movements such as squatting, pushing and pulling executed at high intensity. You know CrossFit is addictive when you continue doing it four times a week.

Now one of four coaches at CrossFit Tanjong Pagar, it’s hard to believe he was previously a physical theatre performer.  This background as a performer, has helped John to be aware of his body and muscles used in the CrossFit exercises.

John competing at a recent competition in Singapore. (Facebook/John Cheah)
John competing at a recent competition in Singapore. (Facebook/John Cheah)

Big Workout, Big Diet


Unlike when he was 16, when he was overweight at 89kg as a result of a terrible diet and a sedentary lifestyle, John now watches his diet and matches it to his workout.

Abundance of meat, vegetables and enough carbohydrates are usually on the table to fuel his training. Preferably naturally grown, and no processed foods including sugar.

His 85kg now, forms a healthy and toned body, which eats a 5-egg omelette for breakfast and meat and carbs for lunch, ample protein for dinner and supplements such as Omega-3 pills, creatine and whey drinks just before training sessions. This totals up to 3,500 – 4,000 calories a day.

Match it up, Pair it up

Most athletes love their training gears and are (sub-conciously) fashion-trendy. John has fun matching my clothes and shoes from his collection of six pairs of training shoes – for competition and training, running and coaching.

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